The Part Timers crew recently dropped their first video and their article featured in issue 36 of the mag, so we thought we’d upload it for you to view in full. Have a read below of Patrick Merryfield’s words, take in James Collins’ dope photos, rewatch the video by Pedro Mayn and go support the Part Timers by copping some merch here.
Words by: Patrick Merryfield
Photography by: James Collins
Skateboarding seems to move so fast that it can feel like a full-time job just keeping up with it. In fact, it becomes an unattainable task when we are also all working, maintaining relationships and generally just trying to survive in these strange times. Trying to create in this environment is even tougher, but still there are so many people out there with their nose to the grindstone enriching our little world. We would be a lot poorer without the people making videos, widening inclusivity, building DIY spaces and producing print media. Putting in this work does not come without major sacrifices elsewhere in life and finding the balance can be difficult. This was found out by the West Country’s favourite photographer James Collins in the creation of his own Gallery Magazine.
Wanting to present his photos and the four-wheeled expertise of his friends, Gallery took the form of a sort of visual Bible of Bristolian street crust and big transitions. Unsurprisingly, trying to put out these massive volumes became too demanding while juggling everything else in life. Realising he couldn’t put his all into it, James revisited a smaller project he’d started previously, firing up ‘PART TIMERS’ again to better reflect the reality of our busy lives.
Rather than driving the whole thing, he brought together a mashup of his friends from across the country. He knew that those he asked would be down to put some time aside to go on a trip here and there, to be creative and come up with unusual ideas. In fact, this part time state of mind creates a mood where everyone is super keen to be involved in hunting out spots and throwing themselves at them. Initiating it by himself, there wasn’t any money to put people up or pay for travel. Instead, all that he could promise was a bad night’s sleep and the directions to a Wetherspoons for the morning’s topping-up and dropping-off of well-greased food and coffee. He reflected on this in a blustery voice note on his way to work, acknowledging that, “While being paid to be in a hotel somewhere random is pretty fucking cool, it doesn’t compare to walking out into the wilderness each night trying to find somewhere to camp.”
The first wilderness in question was the sunny South Coast, a trip for the most part marked by the usual unorganised ramblings of a large group of skateboarders progressively cooking under the summer sun, before settling down and telling stories as their sweat dried skin stuck to their sleeping bags. While most of these stories are now lost to the night, I will share some fresh ones that will inevitably be told on future trips.
One story that unsurprisingly has already spread far and wide concerns the single biggest fear of any photographer or filmer – losing an SD card full of gold. It was only upon return to real life that James realised that this had happened, likely having fallen out when swapping cards over to show the events of the first couple days. On this card was proof of a Mikey Joyce demolition job on the big rusty myth that is Crowhurst, aptly nicknamed on this trip as the ‘Tetanus Ramp’. Mikey’s iconic dreadlocks were frozen in time as he threw a boneless off the top rope and into the depths below. If the rumours are true then this could be one of the final acts of insanity at this place before it gets dismantled, so it was an honour to get to skate it. Other spots included the somehow even crustier Lewes DIY, which sheltered us from the downpour after our unintentional rain dances at the ultra-flowy Forest Row. The biggest loss however were the fruits of many hours spent in the deep end of Hastings bowl – such a devastating turn of events that James and Jordan Lightowler drove 4 hours back there a few weeks later to reshoot, only to find a BMX jam on. While they were forced to go camp out and come back the following day, they finally immortalised Jord’s frontside air over the loveseat at the third time of asking.
While it is demoralising to picture these photos currently trapped inside their tiny plastic prison, on the floor of an unidentifiable coastal town or in the belly of a seagull far gone on its winter migration, it was not the end of the world. In fact, it kickstarted a wider effort to supplement what we did have, with Ben Broyd, Jasper Clough, Max Roton and Jono Coote all coming through with last minute article additions. Thankfully, our trip to Brighton survived the great SD saga. This is something that I was particularly happy about seeing as my nosepick into that seafront sculpture was executed while the homeless guy next door was telling me that the last person that tried to skate it had broken their neck. Our time in the city was overwhelmingly gradient based, the work put in by James figuring out the spots prior to the trip ultimately being enjoyed by everyone, but none more so than him. As he cheerfully said, “Car boot sale then wallrides all day… banging.” Dead Dave brought this phrase to life, winning the best buy competition at the car boot before donning his newly acquired Concorde cap to enter the cockpit of a quintessential handstand wallride.
Joining us not-so-fresh faced after a late night in London, Taylor Jones jumped straight in and onto a noseblunt on a steep bank set-up, popping out in the hope that it would cure his hangover. You’ll have to ask him whether it did, but I don’t think the body slams with the floor below particularly helped. With the sun blasting down and the sea breeze blissfully carrying our stale scent down to the old dears and kids brimming with tears, we truly felt like we were on holiday. To celebrate this, we were swayed into mid-afternoon pints and cocktails (it could very well have been at this point the SD card slipped our grasp). Well lubricated, the spot search continued – with sights set on the classic car park hybrid roof bank smoking shelter thing where Zach went full Russian with a boneless, scoring a perfect 100 for his gymnastic shapes.
Tired, hungry and feeling unbalanced, we eased out of the rest of the sunlight hours at The Level, where we ended up getting far too carried away watching Jord tame the deep end in his Jesus sandals. This added a degree of difficulty to hunting for a camp spot. With a petrol station dinner in our bellies we headed to our final destination of Devil’s Dyke, startling some pretty blasé doggers as our convoy turned up. Rain loomed on the horizon, so we made camp deep in the shrubbery and nodded off to the endless stream of catchphrases from Port Talbot’s finest export and Part Timers resident filmer, Pedro. Most of us managed to stay asleep through the rain and the thunderous revving of engines, screeching of tyres,and teenage shouting that was happening on the perimeter of the forest we were in. Two young farmers had ragged their Land Rover onto a grass bank on the perimeter of the forest, leaving it marooned in the middle of the night. Zach and Pedro went to investigate, giving the boys the shock of their life as two particularly strange men appeared out of the shrubbery and inquired, “Alright beys?”
The recounting of this story was one many great ones shared by Pedro, whose nickname comes from his slight resemblance to the awkward, reserved character from Napoleon Dynamite. In contrast, this little Welsh filming wizard, best known for the Papa Mio’s Hardware videos, has a magical gift for comedy that is almost as impressive as his Ozzy Osbourne-esque haircut. We heard many ramblings throughout the weekend, from reflections on Fox’s Glacier Mints to the imagining of fictional ping pong tournaments happening in the back of the Mercedes Sprinter van that had been the scene of the aforementioned dogging.
Speaking of banging in cars, Pedro’s Red Ford Focus Sport served as the arena for a seemingly synchronised routine of head banging as every journey saw a different strain of heavy metal entering the earth’s atmosphere from the depths of hell below. It was that, or Pedro and James were just nodding vigorously over their shared love of camera straps.
Moving further westward as we neared the end of the trip, we made a stop at the seaside town of Littlehampton which has spawned a series of obscene skate spots all within about 300 metres of each other. Throughout the trip, Daniel Tabakin got well accustomed to my cruiser set up. His asking to use it every time he was not blasting frontside airs on big transitions gives you an idea of his approach to street skating; being most excited by difficult, hard to access terrain. This bank to wall was no exception to the rule.
While we do all spend a lot of time skateboarding, it often doesn’t feel as freeing as those early years when going out skating did not come with other sacrifices. To combat this and regain this feeling of stupidity and freedom, camping serves as the quickest, cheapest and easiest way to get out on missions at the end of the week. It’s way more fun not knowing where you’re going to be each night, just winging it with only a few spots in mind.
It has been nice because these trips haven’t been exclusive and the crew has differed depending on who is around. Part Timers has emerged as something that can be easily related to – cherishing having a friendly group of people around you, being excited, creative, and comfortable in your own skin. From this position you get the opportunity to meet new people and see new places, working together on something you really enjoy doing. I hope to never be anything but a part-time skateboarder.
The Part Timers Video